Maine governor vetoes bill that would create market for legal marijuana

Maine Gov. Paul Lepage’s decision to veto a bill on Friday that would have built a recreational marijuana retail market is a major buzzkill for those in the state who voted to legalize the drug last year.

In his veto letter, LePage urged the Maine legislature to “sustain this veto” because he did not believe that the bill was satisfactory. The bill passed with enough votes to overturn a veto in the state Senate, but not the statehouse.

LePage said his greatest grievance is that he did not know how the Trump administration intended to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalized recreational marijuana.


States consider best ways to legalize recreational marijuana

A special legislative commission is looking into the potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island as the state's northern neighbor readies to allow recreational marijuana sales.

Bills to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in Rhode Island have stalled in previous legislative sessions. The General Assembly agreed in June to look into the issue further by creating the commission.

It met for the first time Wednesday.

Voters in Massachusetts approved legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana in November. Massachusetts officials have been cautious about the rollout and sales have been delayed.


Highs and lows seen in Maine marijuana law delays

With the marijuana bill adopted by the Legislature last week facing a likely governor’s veto, some lawmakers say Maine could turn into the “wild, wild West” of marijuana.

Pot shops selling Snoopy-shaped edibles next to schools. Social clubs cropping up in bucolic village centers. The lowest pot tax in the country. Drive-up window sales.


Recreational marijuana is legal in these states—and Maine might be next

The governor of Maine has said he won't sign a just-passed bill that would legalize recreational marijuana, putting the Pine Tree State on the other side of a historic trend toward casual use of the drug.

Paul LePage opposes any bill that allowed Mainers to light up legally before 2019—and the bill that passed on Monday night did not have a veto-proof majority. 

If he vetoes the legal weed as expected, LePage is turning away from a ganja gold mine. Nevada, for example, generated more than $3.5 million in tax revenues in just the first month of its legalized pot—en route to an expected $120 million over two years.


Maine: Adult-use marijuana bill carefully crafted to make new industry

Last November, Maine citizens narrowly passed a referendum to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana.

Once that referendum was passed, the Legislature was tasked with the critical, and considerable, responsibility of implementing the law.

Teresa Pierce is a second-term Democratic state legislator from Falmouth and House chair of the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation.

Seventeen lawmakers from both parties, including myself, agreed to help shape Maine’s adult-use marijuana industry as members of the Joint Select Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee for the 128th Legislature.


Legalize Maine says legislature’s rewrite of pot law ‘not ready for prime time’

Legalize Maine has come out against the proposed legislative rewrite of a voter-approved recreational marijuana law, saying the bill that is slated for a special session vote Monday “isn’t ready for prime time.”

The group’s president, Paul T. McCarrier, said the amendment to the state Marijuana Legalization Act would create chaos in the new market, making it difficult for marijuana businesses to find a place to set up shop.

The major sticking point for Legalize Maine is language in the bill requiring towns to “opt in” to the marijuana market, or take legislative action to allow recreational marijuana businesses to operate in their borders, McCarrier said this morning.


Revenue, cost estimates hazy on marijuana implementation

With two weeks to go before lawmakers vote on legislation to legalize marijuana, state analysts have yet to calculate the fiscal impact of Maine’s adult-use cannabis bill.

Lawmakers tasked with setting up the new recreational market had projected Maine would collect about $21.4 million a year in taxes once the market matured. On Thursday, the Legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review told the committee its proposed rewrite of a voter-approved cannabis law would have netted even more, about $27.7 million a year, before the committee changed its proposed tax scheme.


Maine: Residents say they support retail marijuana sales

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, midcoast residents oppose the prohibition of recreational marijuana retail shops, social clubs, commercial cultivation, and other operations in Damariscotta, though a majority of respondents favor regulations, such as a limit on the number of business licenses and zoning.

For the past month, the town of Damariscotta has been soliciting feedback on how, if at all, the town should regulate recreational marijuana-related businesses through an 18-question survey. The survey was posted on the town’s website and in its email newsletter, and paper copies were available at the town office.


Retail marijuana is spreading to California, Massachusetts and Maine

Recreational marijuana sales will launch in three states next year, including the biggest one of all: California.

It's already for sale in five states, but the addition of a legal retail marijuana market in California, with its massive economy and population, will dramatically change the landscape.

California is aiming to open retail marijuana stores by January 1, Massachusetts and Maine plan to open stores next summer.


Maine panel divvies up tax revenue from sales of marijuana

Maine legislative panel agreed Thursday on how to divvy tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales after putting the kibosh on drive-thru sales, internet sales and home delivery.

The Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation wants to provide 5 percent to towns that host retail or cultivation businesses. Another 6 percent would go to law enforcement and 6 percent to public education. The remainder would go to the state's general fund.

The panel held two days of hearings with a goal of getting a proposal in shape to be considered during a special legislative session next month.


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